Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
August 07, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Vanderbilt student teams garner international recognition

Both teams develop innovative ways to help address issues for children.

The Wond’ry at Vanderbilt University is celebrating two innovation accomplishments by two different student teams. 

First-year Peabody College students Ai Jing, Xingzhi Cheng and Lan Yao captured third place among more than 1,000 participating teams in last month’s “Map the System Global Finals” at the Saïd Business School, Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, at the University of Oxford, England. 

The Vanderbilt trio, who adopted the name Team Capybara, placed third for their project, “Schoolsick: Educational Support for Children with Chronic Illnesses in Nashville.” According to the team, one in 15 children has multiple chronic health conditions, and a child with leukemia may miss anywhere from 10 to 20 weeks of school (a typical school year is 36 weeks long). Team Capybara investigated how children hospitalized for long periods of time due to chronic illness fare in education and mental well-being outcomes. The group used a literature review, semi-structured interviews and systems thinking models to develop an iterative two-step model that may transform the services that school districts, health care providers and mission-driven organizations provide to children and families.  

Click here to learn more.

Another Vanderbilt team was one of four winners of the “2023 Tikkun Olam Makers Global Innovation Challenge” (TOM GIC) which featured more than 500 participants from 27 countries. TOM GIC is “a competition to design, engineer, and create affordable technology that will help a person with a disability live a more independent, fulfilling life.” All teams must address a real challenge faced by a real person with a disability or their family.

The team worked with 8-year-old Jameson who has a rare autoimmune disorder and must consume food through a feeding tube. Traditionally, he has needed help from his parents or a nurse to eat. However, this summer, Jameson wanted to go to a camp that doesn’t have a registered nurse. The team worked with Jameson to make a device that allows him to independently feed himself.


Don’t Miss Out on the Southeast’s Latest Entrepreneurial, Business, & Tech News!

Sign-up to get the Teknovation Newsletter in your inbox each morning!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

No, thanks!